Court TV / AP
MINNEAPOLIS – The trial for the murder of Derek Chauvin was the first criminal trial in Minnesota to be broadcast live on television. It won’t be the last.
Some in the Minnesota legal system were concerned about allowing a live broadcast of Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd, but the video feed had no major problems and boosted public understanding about the trial, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
Hennepin County Court spokesman said Judge Peter Cahill’s order to allow live streaming would continue to apply to August the trial of the remaining three former officers in Minneapolis accused of Floyd’s death, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao.
Cahill ordered trials that will be broadcast live due to intense global interest in the case and limited court space due to the pandemic.
A Minnesota court ruling usually prohibits cameras at criminal trials unless both parties agree with them. Although Chauvin’s attorney quickly welcomed the live broadcast, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison argued he did not allow the live broadcast because he said it could intimidate witnesses.
But a week after the jury found Chauvin guilty, Ellison told WCCO-TV that the live broadcast “went pretty well” and was grateful that the judge allowed juvenile witnesses to testify off-camera.
Cahill also banned the display of jurors’ faces.
Hennepin District Judge Toddrick Barnette said he, too, has long been a skeptic of courtroom cameras. Ahead of a meeting with journalists and media lawyers, he worked closely with Court Television, which operated cameras and provided his video feed with other video news.
“Over time, I felt more comfortable that they were really interested in the integrity of the proceedings and I tried very hard not to be in breach of Judge Cahill’s order,” Barnette said.
Barnette said that one of the greatest benefits of televising the trial was that the public learned about the process, from the selection of the jury to the final verdict. Chauvin was convicted last week of second- and third-degree murders and second-degree murders. He will be sentenced on June 25.